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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:02 pm 
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Archaeologist: American churches astronomically aligned

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:03 pm 
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I meant to comment on this information about alignment of American churches last year. The pervasive solar alignment of churches is an essential building block in astrotheology. I quote the full article below as an illuminating explanation of the modern persistence of the ancient Egyptian practice of "stretching of the cord" in order to determine temple alignments. Our steady dangerous loss of connection to nature is illustrated in the forgetting of this material.

The Stretching of the Cord Ceremony

This theme of orientation as an ethical framework is something that I discussed in my Master of Arts Honours Thesis on The Place of Ethics in Heidegger's Ontology as follows.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Perhaps the best example of the contrast between the ready-to-hand [experience] and the present-at-hand [theory] is Heidegger's discussion of the relationship between the earth and the sun. The correct scientific view, which understands the earth as a cosmic speck within a stellar system on an outer arm of the Milky Way galaxy, is the only truth in terms of the present at hand. In terms of the ready-to-hand however, the pre-Copernican view that the sun goes round the earth is just as true. As Heidegger puts it, "the sun, whose light and warmth are in everyday use, has its own places - sunrise, midday, sunset, midnight . . . . Here we have something which is ready-to-hand with uniform constancy. . . . The house has its sunny side and its shady side; the way it is divided up into rooms is oriented towards these, and so is the arrangement within them, according to their character as equipment. Churches and graves, for instance, are laid out according to the rising and the setting of the sun - the regions of life and death, which are determinative for Dasein [existence] itself with regard to its ownmost possibilities of Being in the world".63
In terms of human access, the sky is not principally an object of study for climatologists and a hindrance for astronomers, it is "the vaulting path of the sun, the course of the changing moon, the wandering glitter of the stars, the year's seasons and their changes, the light and dusk of day, the gloom and glow of night, the drifting clouds and blue depth of the ether".64 For farming,65 or for the laying out of churches and graves,66 it is irrelevant that the earth "actually" goes round the sun. The same distinction applies to other practical concerns; “the south wind may be meteorologically accessible as something which just occurs, but it is never present-at-hand directly in such a way as this . . . On the contrary, only by the circumspection with which one takes account of things in farming is the south wind discovered in its Being”.67

The article posted by Acharya is as follows - It is noteworthy that Sir Norman Lockyer also discusses this theme of temple alignment, and presents an intriguing example from Herodotus.

Illuminating research: CSU Monterey Bay archaeologist studies rare light effects at missions
Ruben G. Mendoza is on a quest for light.

The 54-year old archaeologist and professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSU Monterey Bay is seeking the rarest of lights: Early morning rays of the solstice sun, channeled by a centuries-old alchemy of architecture and astronomy, geometry and awe, into brilliant tabernacle illuminations at California's missions.

It's a complex blend of solar geometry and Franciscan cosmology, says Mendoza, in which churches, windows and altars were laid out in relation to the sun's position on a particular day of the year.

Illuminations occur on solstice, equinox or feast day mornings, says Mendoza, with light entering through a particular window and illuminating the tabernacle or an altar bulto, or statue, of a saint in a brilliant column of light.

At Carmel, Mendoza describes the June 21 phenomenon as an intense beam which crosses the nave, pulses across the altar, then drops at an angle to rest squarely on the Eucharistic tabernacle, the sacred receptacle that holds the host, believed by the faithful to undergo transubstantiation during Mass to become the body of Christ.

"It's so exciting to see the excitement of the community when they see it," Mendoza says. "It's like a rebirth."

At Mission San Miguel, parishioners moved by the sight of the illumination of St. Francis burst into shouts of "hallelujah," says Mendoza.

Documenting illuminations

Mendoza has overseen archaeological undertakings at Mission San Juan Bautista and Carmel Mission, headed archaeology and conservation efforts at San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey and is leading archaeological digs at Mission Soledad in hopes of ensuring its eventual restoration. And, so far, he has documented illuminations at 14 of California's 21 missions.

In 2003, Mendoza captured the summer solstice tabernacle illumination at Carmel Mission after several years of efforts. The winter solstice illumination of the Royal Presidio Chapel of Santa Barbara took four years because of rain, fog, illness and a scheduled out-of-state conference. After a three-day delay because of cloud cover, he finally recorded it in December 2008....

There's nothing accidental about them: Carmel, San Juan Bautista and the other missions with illuminations were built on a meridian, an architectural orientation to the sunrise of a particular day.

The complex solar geometry of the missions is less surprising, says Mendoza, given that the missions were built in the era of a maritime economy, where celestial navigation was a common skill, and the fact that European churches were often built on meridians.

"If we go back to the medieval era, we know that the churches of Italy would be laid out in such a way that they would plant a post in the ground on the feast of a particular day, wait for the sun to rise and it would cast a shadow," says Mendoza. "Then the friars would tie a rope and drag it along the shadow and build the church along that alignment."

Seen in Carmel

The pastor at Mission San Juan Bautista first pointed out an illumination to Mendoza on Dec. 21, 1997, the morning of the winter solstice. Mendoza was skeptical that San Juan Bautista was unique and started searching for similar occurrences at churches across the U.S., Central America and Mexico.

In 2003, when he witnessed the summer solstice illumination at Carmel Mission, he could see the start of a pattern.

"Once I discovered it at Carmel," he said, "I realized it could not be a coincidence in a diocese with seven missions."

At Mission San Miguel, illuminations occur as progressions in five-day intervals, beginning with the Oct. 4 illumination of the statue of St. Francis, the illumination of the tabernacle, the statue of St. Michael the Archangel, and the statue of St. Anthony on Oct. 19.

"Significantly, immediately above St. Anthony's head is the painted image of the stigmata with the five wounds of Christ. The five-day intervals, I believe, bear direct reference to this sacred numerology," says Mendoza.

The pattern at the mission is reversed at the vernal equinox, says Mendoza, when the illuminations begin with St. Anthony and end with St. Francis.

"That, for me, is one of the most complex solar geometries that I've seen at any of the California missions," says Mendoza.

Spring equinox illuminations at Santa Ines and San Jose missions are repeated Sept. 21, the second equinox of the year. At Mission San Luis Rey, says Mendoza, a lantern affixed to the cupola projects a Trinitarian illumination, where three spears of light project onto the altar.

Mission Santa Clara would also exhibit a summer solstice illumination, he says, if its essential window hadn't been blocked during reconstruction....

As for Mendoza, a sense of wonder continues, even after years of research.

And he has plenty left to wonder about. More than 100,000 churches were built in Mexico alone during the mission period, says Mendoza, along with countless churches across the Southwest.

"For me, this is an unfinished agenda," he says. "These sites are fascinating, but we've only begun to scratch the surface."

Mendoza is working on a book on archeoastronomy in the Americas....

For a further informative explanation of the Egyptian background, see

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:17 pm
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That definately sounds like an extension of the stretching of the cord ceremony in Egypt. I wonder if one could also find correspondences to the northern circumpolar constellations in these churches similar to the way that Buvual found in Egypt?

The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:17 am 
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Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
I wonder if one could also find correspondences to the northern circumpolar constellations in these churches similar to the way that Bauval found in Egypt?

Unlikely. Churches are oriented with the altar at the east so the rising sun is behind the priest. This means the sun rises straight behind the altar at dawn on Easter Sunday. Modern churches have largely forgotten this essential natural rhythm.

The great pyramid tube pointing to the north celestial pole is a far more sophisticated astrotheological understanding than anything in Christianity. I am not sure how close this tube aligns to the pole, as most of the discussion is about how it pointed to Thuban, the former pole star in Draco.

We see only the fragment of the Egyptian knowledge in the Bible with the description at Rev 13:2 of how the dragon gives his power and seat and authority to the bear lion leopard, matching how the north celestial pole, the lode star of the universe, has moved over historical time from the constellation of the dragon to the bear next to the lion.

Churches are not designed for looking at stars, unlike Egyptian temples with their stellar alignments.

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